Update: Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.) was the one who objected to the religious language. Brownback agreed to drop 'human life' from the resolution to appease pro-choice Democrats. Consequently, the Senate adopted the resolution Wednesday afternoon.
A reliable GOP aide informs Townhall that Senate Democrats are blocking a measure to commend Pope Benedict XVI because of “controversial” religious language used in the text of the resolution.
The Pope arrived in Washington Wednesday for a six-day visit to the United States. He delivered an address on the White House South Lawn that morning to praise the America for preserving religious freedom at home and abroad.
A week before the pontiff arrived in Washington, the House passed a resolution to welcome him to the United States.
The Senate has so far refrained from passing a similar resolution because at least one Senate Democrat is objecting to the following statements contained in the Senate’s resolution to welcome the Pope:
"Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken approvingly of the vibrance of religious faith in the United States, a faith nourished by a constitutional commitment to religious liberty that neither attempts to strip our public spaces of religious expression nor denies the ultimate source of our rights and liberties"
"Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable, witnessing to the value of each and every human life;"
The Senate resolution has bipartisan sponsorship. Republican Sen. Sam Brownback (R.-Kans.) introduced the resolution on April 15. It is cosponsored by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.). Both senators are Catholic.
The was offered for passage by unanimous consent, meaning the Senate could pass it without a vote, through a procedure called “hotlining.” The resolution could not be “hotlined,” however, because of Democratic objections to the statements listed above.
Until Democrats lift their objections, or the resolution is modified, it remains in limbo.
The aide tells Townhall, “I guess the Democrats look down on those who ‘cling’ to religious liberty and value life. Makes me bitter.”
Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) has faced fierce criticism over the past week because he suggested to supporters at a private fundraiser in San Francisco “bitter” Americans “cling” to wedge voting issues like gun rights, faith and border security when faced with economic hardship.